"Miracle in the Meadowlands I"
As bloopers and boneheaded play calls go, this one was as costly and head-scratching as it gets. On November 19, 1978, the Giants hosted the Eagles at the Meadowlands and were on the verge of an important franchise win: they led, 17-12, in the game’s final seconds and had the ball, and the Eagles were out of timeouts. After five straight losing seasons, the Giants were about to even their record at 6-6, with a chance at the playoffs. Quarterback Joe Pisarcik took a snap – “there is nothing the Eagles can do,” broadcaster Merrill Reese said at the time – but rather than kneel on the turf and allow the clock to expire, he went to hand off the ball to his fullback, Larry Csonka. Pisarcik clumsily lost the control of the ball, which bounced on the turf and into the arms of Eagles defensive back Herm Edwards, who returned the fumble 26 yards for the touchdown as Philadelphia won, 19-17. The next day, Bob Gibson, the Giants’ offensive coordinator, was fired. He’d never coach football again. At 9-7, the Eagles made the playoffs; Giants head coach John McVay was terminated after the season, his last as a head coach in the NFL. The bungled play gave rise to the universal acceptance of the “Victory” kneel play, in which the QB simply takes a knee when games are in the bag.